Indoor Air Pollution

by Boonsita Wanphusit

Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution refers to chemical, biological and physical contamination of indoor air. It may result in adverse health effects. In developing countries, the main source of indoor air pollution is biomass smoke which contains suspended particulate matter (5PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (Ca), formaldehyde and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution can be caused by tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxides from unvented or faulty gas appliances, particles from wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and aerosol sprays, and biological agents, such as pet dander, dust and mold. Asbestos, lead and radon are particularly dangerous indoor pollutants that can cause brain damage and cancer.

Air Quality

Air Quality is the degree to which the ambient air is pollution-free, assessed by measuring a number of indicators of pollution.

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome is a condition affecting office workers, typically marked by headaches and respiratory problems, attributed to unhealthy or stressful factors in the working environment such as poor ventilation.

Effects of Indoor Air Pollution

The effects of indoor air pollutants range from short-term effects – eye and throat irritation – to long-term effects – respiratory disease and cancer. Exposure to high levels of some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, can even result in immediate death. Also, some indoor pollutants can magnify the effects of other indoor pollutants.

Common symptoms of Indoor Air Pollution

Symptoms of poor indoor air quality are very broad and depend on the contaminant. They can easily be mistaken for symptoms of other illnesses such as allergies, stress, colds and influenza. The most common symptoms are:



watery eyes




upper respiratory congestion

If you notice relief from your symptoms soon after leaving a particular room or building, your symptoms may be caused by indoor air contaminants.

5 Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality

  • Use an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing.
  • Don't overwater house plants.
  • Vent the clothes dryer to the outside.
  • Fix leaky plumbing to prevent moisture-loving mold
  • Empty drip pans in your window air conditioner and dehumidifier.